Using Twitter as a professional medium: Digital TeachMeet Falkirk @FDTeachMeet


DTMF

TeachMeet is an informal gathering of those curious about learning and teaching. The theme of the TeachMeet is the use of technology to enhance the learning of our pupils.  Anyone can share great ideas no matter how big or how small as long as it has a technology theme. TeachMeet is for teachers from any sector and from any authority.

I will present on the use of Twitter as a Professional Medium. I only have 5 minutes (normally I’m at least an hour lecture with a 30 slide presentation) so this will be short and (hopefully) sweet. Broadly, these are the points I’d like to get across:

Point 1: Online technologies and social media are shaping learning, as an expected norm created by social shaping and technology. It’s a bit of a paradox. For example, is social media influencing society and how we interact with learning or are our demands and methods of collaboration driving the future development of social media? Point 2: Social networking with Twitter (as an example) is already out there. Do we have a responsibility to teach our children and young people the safe use of online technologies and emerging tools for communication? If not, then who is responsible? If yes, then how do we do this and should it be an integral part of the national curriculum? Point 3: 94% of my undergraduate students use social media (Dunn, 2103). There is a significant proportion who use it for personal use only – but an equally significant number who use it in a professional capacity. This means we need to think about how we can use it effectively as we already know that the agency between the teacher and the student is crucial in any aspect of learning – including blended and online modes. Point 4: There are huge benefits, but just as many challenges (see below). Point 5: When using any social networking platform, online social media or electronic forms of communication, we need to set out the ground rules, expectations and adhere to a strict code of conduct e.g. the GTCS Professional Guidelines on the use of social media and electronic communications.

And a real world example of how I have used Twitter to support learning? Within my Year 1 undergraduate course What’s the point of education? (MEduc Primary) we use Twitter to access online nodes of learning e.g. professional accounts like Pedagoo and teacher accounts such as @leeandrewdunn – follow the hashtag #MEduc14. All students are expected to collaborate and engage with the technology in a professional capacity to learn and to share information. This is tied into the learning outcomes of the course.

The key advantages can be stated as:

  • Increasing student motivation and engagement with course material;
  • Increasing student-to-student collaboration;
  • Enhanced interaction between the student and the lecturer/ teacher;
  • Accelerated data and information sharing;
  • Removes barriers to self-expression and contribution;
  • Provides students with 21st Century skills which could aide their employability and increase
  • Levels of satisfaction.

Abstract

Social media has grown from its original conceptualisation and as it is realised today, it may offer a new construct to enhance learning and teaching. Greenhow and Gleason (2012) explore the use of Twitter and suggest that it may lead to increased engagement and better interaction between students and teachers. A similar view is held by Fusch, who explores the possibility that the resources at our disposal are as important as the learning intentions and that indeed, resources are needed which promote social communication, create a more interactive learning experience and promote collaboration amongst peer groups and staff (2011).  The paper offers a synthesis of international literature and draws conclusions from a recent study carried out within The University of Glasgow. Crucially, it will explore the students’ perception and expectations on social media interaction within the context of their learning experience.

References

Dunn, L. (2013) Using social media to enhance learning and teaching. In: Social Media 2013: 18th International Conference on Education and Technology, Hong Kong, China, 1-3 Aug 2013.

Fulsh, D. Social Media and Student Learning: Moving the needle on engagement in Academic Impressions,  pp. 15. (2011)

Greenhow, C and Gleason B. Twitteracy: Tweeting as a New Literacy Practice in The Educational Forum, (76). pp, 463-477. (2012)

TeachMeet Presenters

Presenter  From  Topic  Twitter username 
Lee Dunn University of Glasgow Professional networking with Twitter @leeandrewdunn
Susan McLaren University of Edinburgh e-scape project
Malcolm Wilson Falkirk Council Education Services Office 365 @claganach
Lynsey McNamee St Mungo’s High School Falkirk Socrative @MissMcDesignTec
John Johnston Scottish Government Glow Blogging @johnjohnston
Ian Stuart Scottish Government OneNote @IanStuart66
Jacqueline Campbell St Mungo’s High School Falkirk Flipped Learning & Screencast-o-matic
Andrew Aitken Beancross Primary School Falkirk Sumdog website
Emily Morrow Beancross Primary School Falkirk webcam
Brendan Pitchforth St Columba’s High School, Dunfermline Blended learning
Pam Currie Education Scotland Digital Ninjas @pamcurrie71
John Cloherty St Bernadette’s Primary School, Falkirk Pupils as Digital Leaders @MrCloherty
Annette Iafrate Gryffe High School , Renfrewshire Skitch Touch
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Academic Staff University of Glasgow and Author of Science Fiction

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